I did happen upon a title that I had not noticed before. It was The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. My friend/cousin(in-law)/half-marathoner-in-training, Adam, had mentioned it on his blog just a few weeks ago. I didn't remember all that he said about it, but I read the back cover, decided that the book looked funny and entertaining, so I promptly took it to the front counter to check-out.
I am not disappointed by the book - it is by some British guy, and he uses some of my favorite "British" terms like "smashingly", "bloody", "bloke", and "trainers." And, as with any book I read by a male author from England, I read it in my Eric Idle voice in my head. I read Good Omens like that as well. It makes it that much better.
Some time later, I was on the ol' computer and I decided to do some background research on the book. Or at least read some reviews of it. The Google result for the book gave me the following:
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a story by the British writer Alan Sillitoe, and it is contained in a collection of short stories published under the same title. The main character is a young man confined in a youth prison for delinquent young people, which is called a borstal institution. He seeks solace in long distance running.
Wait, what? My copy isn't like this at all. That description is not nearly as light-hearted as my book is. I stare at the wiki entry a little while longer, re-Google the title, and come up with the same results. I grabbed my copy of the book and stared at it for a good 2 minutes before I realized that I had the book The LOONINESS of the Long-Distance Runner (An unfit Londoner's attempt to run the New York City Marathon from Scratch).
So Eric Idle and I will finish up our book. I am still enjoying it. I think it is good for the blues-y mood that I have been in this week. I will hopefully get to that other book once I am done with this one.
For the past two weeks, despite the physical aches and pains from the marathon, I have been in a great mood. I could sit on my butt, call it "recovery" and bask in the self-created glow of my accomplishment. Well, some of that shine has worn off, and now I feel kind of crummy. It's the same kind of blues that people get after an event that they have spent the better part of five months (or longer) preparing for; weddings (although I only felt relief when mine was over), graduations, childbirth (sans the complete lack of sleep, hormones out of whack, and the small human in the other room dependent on you for everything), a parole hearing, that kind of thing*. I guess it's the "now what?" factor.
And I have been eating horribly. Oh wait, I always do that. But during the marathon training, I didn't feel guilty for it. I needed those calories and carbs. And where has all of that extra energy gone? And according to several articles, I can look forward to weight gain and a cold. This kind of makes running feel like a time-share or something. Like I've been roped into it by its delivery of energy, good moods, and guilt-free cookie consumption. But the payout is that I have to get off the couch and get the miles back in.
I challenged myself to see what I could do, and I did it. So do I come up with some other challenge for myself? A triathlon, one of those cool wilderness race things, something more cerebral? Or do I just go back to whatever the hell I occupied myself with this time last year?
I am still shooting for the half marathon in April, and once I get the ship righted, I am sure that things will return to normal. But it's one of those times right now when it feels good to just wallow in it.
*I have never given birth, nor have I had a parole hearing. I can only assume that these events might have some sort of let-down time afterwards (hmmm, like PPD maybe?).
I am trying some of the exercises from the Elite Abs article in Runner's World this month. I think I must have pulled some sort of muscle in my back while trying to do one of the side planks. That tells me my form might have been off just wee bit.
At this point, the reader can refer to my post about "The Gu-ing."
Epcot was beautiful – it was still totally dark out and they had everything all lit up for us. Lots of support from Cast Members who had already arrived. I especially enjoyed running through one of the backstage areas and seeing the big globe thing that they bring out into the middle of the lake during the nightly fireworks show, Illuminations. I don’t know why I enjoyed that, but I did.
I was starting to lose some steam at this point. Consumed another Gu. We left the Magic Kingdom and entered what was to be the longest stretch of the race for me. I am quite thankful that I didn’t know how boring miles 11-15 were going to be. I had told myself to get to the 13.1/halfway mark, and then I could take a decent walk break. I must have decided to push onto mile 14, though as my split time for mile 13 was , and the split for mile 14 was (my slowest split of the day).
There were some speakers set up along the way, I got to hear some several songs, but only for about 15 seconds at a time. The only song that I specifically remember hearing during this stretch was “TubThumbing” by Chumbawumba. Hell sí. Actually I remember one other song, and that was from the Fort Lauderdale Road Runners Club, who had a several places where they set up to cheer. They had a stereo blasting “Hot in Herre” by Nelly. I remember this one really old man (who probably could have smoked my marathon finish time) that was dancing rather graphically in a grass skirt to the song.
By this time, there were already guests in the park, and you could easily spot the people who had no idea that there was a schedule marathon that day. They looked quite confused. But there were several good sports in the bunch who put down their five dollar sodas and cheered us on.
I was feeling, well, good at this point. I was very shocked by how good I felt. My family was supposed to be somewhere between miles 23 and 25 cheering me on, so I think I was getting a lot of energy off that, just knowing that I would get to see them in a few more miles. And I felt like I was over the hump. I never once thought “Oh my god, I can’t do this.” I have wondered if I was cheated in some way by NOT feeling that, and subsequently pushing through, but I know that I should just very thankful that it went as well as it did.
We next went through Disney Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM). It was really cool and all, but I had blinders on by that point to just get to the finish line. I do recall hearing the score to Remember the Titans playing somewhere in there, and I was very happy to hear it.
Mile 24 was almost back into Epcot, and where I was expecting to see my husband, my parents, and all of my in-laws. THAT is why I was saving all that energy. My split time was for mile 24. I guess I wanted to make sure that when they saw me, I was running. Sadly, they weren’t there. The executive decision had been made that if they had been there, they would not have made it to see the finish. But there was still tons of crowd support and I heard lots of random people cheering for me, so it was all good anyway.
And I have pretty much decided that I am doing the Country Music Half Marathon in April. I am shooting to shave 12 minutes off of last years' time!
Days since I started training: 135
Number of those days I ran: 46
Total distance covered: 253.08 miles
Total time running: 45:39:45
Average pace: 10:49 min/mile
Longest training run: FIFTEEN MILES (and that was on 11/24)
Marathon clock time: 5:36:36
Marathon chip time: 5:31:40
Time excluding bathroom/Gu wash-off stops: Approx. 5:20:00
Overall place: 7791 out of 12,964 finishers
Gender place: 3153 out of 6204
Half Marathon split time: 2:43:17
Packets of Gu consumed: 4 (at 5, 9, 14, and 20 miles)
Calories burned: 2615
Fastest mile split time: 10:03 (not surprisingly, mile one)
Slowest mile split time: 14:01 (mile 14)
Most surprising mile split time: 11:35 (mile 24 - I must have been saving some energy)
Toenails turning black: 1, "index" toe on my left foot
Blisters: 4, but none of them were very big
I am in there somewhere, but if you can find me, you have have sharper eyes than I do. There is some good footage about a minute in of runners going down Main Street USA and into Cinderella's Castle. Note the trumpeters on the castle celebrating our arrival!
Also note Mr. & Mrs. Incredible at the 2:13 mark of the video. I saw them several times during the race. They were the best runner costumes on the course.
At we all managed to be quiet for the National Anthem. Some fireworks went off, everyone cheered, and we started shuffling forward as the corrals in front of us made their way. That point was one of the three times during the day that I almost cried. The enormity of it all hit me, and I was pretty scared about what the next several hours were going to have in store for me. The sound of the chip mat beeping in front of me jolted me back to the moment, I hit the timer start button on my Garmin, and I was off.
I have settled down significantly from the other night. Right now I am just working on logistics - reservations for parking at the airport, reservations for the dog to board, laundry, printing out all my paperwork, and making a packing list. The packing list is tricky. I am not really worried about bringing the right kinds of clothes for the run (assuming the forecast stays about the same) - shorts and a singlet. It's going to be chilly in the AM, but I will just wear a supa-fly trash bag to keep warm before I start.
As embarrassed as I am to admit this, I can't decided what shorts to wear I wore black shorts and a white singlet for the half marathon - BORING! I have two pairs of Nike Tempo shorts that I love, but I am afraid that they might cause some chafe-age. I have my loverly New Balance running skirt that is quite comfortable, but it doesn't have a pocket. Decisions, decisions. I mean, I will need all the help I can get to look cute in race pictures. My pictures from the half were pretty bad, so one of my goals (aside from completing a marathon) is to have some good snapshots.
I just got off the phone with my wicked awesome sister-in-law. She is an employee of Disney and she got us a wicked awesome discount to stay on site for the marathon. Well NOW I am excited (and nervous and scared). Like I hung up the phone and was bouncing off the walls. I pulled out my race information packet, looked at the course map, and muttered, "I'm going to die" to my husband. He said all the right reassuring things to me. What a good man, that Hubs of mine.
**I am also on my second (or third?) glass of wine, so that is my excuse for typing the word "like" as many times as I did in this post
My New Year's Eve was absolutely nothing like the photo to the left. I was asleep by 10:30. I vaguely remember saying "Happy New Year" when the Hubs came to bed at 12:30. I also remember asking about the outcome of the Peach Bowl. EXCUSE ME, The Chick-Fil-A Bowl. I love and adore the Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit. That, plus a Coke, make up one of the best breakfasts ever. But it's the Peach Bowl.
On the running front, things are going as well as possible. I got a Forerunner 205 for Christmas, and as I suspected, having a new running toy is a great motivator to get out and run. I have been wanting to put it on my dog so that we can find out just how fast he runs when he does what we call "the puppy run" or "the butt tuck run."
For the most part, I am in self-preservation mode - stay healthy enough to still be excited about doing the marathon. I am not going to get the finish time that I was hoping for six weeks ago, but it should still be fun. Twenty-six-point-two of fun!
More to follow soon. I have an exciting day of sitting on the couch watching football planned.